Former champion repeats at annual National Indian Taco festival
The top prize at the National Indian Taco Championships may start being called “Monie’s money.”
Defending champion Ramona “Monie” Horsechief was awarded the $1,500 first prize again Saturday at the 10th annual NITC festival in downtown Pawhuska. Horsechief, a Pawnee resident, won her third title by defeating 15 other contestants.
Second place — and a $1,000 prize — went to the Strike Axe entry, represented by Marjorie Williams and Tom Trumbly. Another Pawnee resident, Beatrice Realrider, was awarded $500 as the third-place finisher.
Pawhuska’s Dana Daylight and Mary Wildcat repeated as the People’s Choice Award winners. Last year, Daylight and Wildcat were part of the three-woman Osage Sisters 3 entry which claimed the $1,000 People’s Choice prize. They won this year’s award despite being temporarily without their third team member Jacque Jones. Daylight has placed in numerous NITC competitions.
Championship entries were judged by a select panel which included District Judge John Kane, Osage Nation Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn and Pawhuska Mayor Roger Taylor. Other members of the judging panel were Osage Tribal Princess Katelynn Pipestem and Pawhuska Board of Education President Justin Sellers.
Six finalists were announced midway through the competition, which started at 11 a.m. and concluded around 4 p.m.
Excellent weather conditions helped to boost public turnout for the carnival-like festival event. Several businesses along Main and Kihekah held special sales to coincide with the championships.
Indian Dance competitions were held in men’s straight, men’s fancy, women’s cloth and women’s buckskin divisions, with $600 prize money distributed in each category. There also were children’s dancing exhibitions. A Native Drum Contest included a winner-take-all prize of $1,500.
Horsechief also took first place at the fifth NITC in 2009. Her three titles put her one behind the all-time leader in championships, Debra Lookout of Pawhuska, who won the event in 2007 and from 2010 through 2012.
Master of ceremonies for this year’s festival was Chad Tahchawwickah and Patricia Wilson served as NITC chairman. Primary sponsors of the event included Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce, the Osage Nation, Visit the Osage-Osage County Tourism Board and Osage Casinos.
Festival vendors included Atlas Broadband, Blue and Gold 4-H, the Boy Scouts, Cherokee Recipes, Dance Maker Acadamy, Dreamcatcher Carriage, Factory Forty-nine, Homa Hats, the K&V yummy yum wagon, Oranogold, Osage Trading Co., Re-elect Gail Hedgcoth, Shale’s Accessory Emporium, Steppin Turtle Studio and Twisted Cedar Native American Wines.